Prep Softball

Jena Lawrence, No. 1 Albia deny Williamsburg in 3A state softball championship game

3A all-tournament captain homers, throws 3-hit shutout in 1-0 win

FORT DODGE — The Williamsburg Raiders got their shot.

After they fell short, all they wanted was another.

“If we played them again, I know we could definitely take them,” Jill Holub said.

For now, at least, the state softball tournament is a single-elimination deal, and top-ranked Albia edged No. 3 Williamsburg, 1-0, to claim the Class 3A championship Friday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.

It was Albia’s first state championship in any sport.

“We just made history right there,” said Albia’s Jena Lawrence, the all-tournament captain. “There was a lot more pressure on us because it was our last game, our last chance. There were seven of us (seniors), and we really wanted to go out with a bang.”

For Lawrence, that bang was a home run that led off the bottom of the fourth inning and accounted for the game’s lone run.

She also pitched a three-hitter, striking out eight.

“(Lawrence) is a great player. She kind of beat us by herself,” Williamsburg Coach Adam Berte said.

Albia (22-1) was making its fourth consecutive state appearance. The Raiders (25-5), meanwhile, were in Fort Dodge for the first time since 2002.

They had already slain one giant, knocking off three-time defending-champion Davenport Assumption in the semifinals Wednesday.

“I don’t think there was any hangover,” Berte said. “We had more energy today than maybe we’d had all season.

“Maybe we were too amped up.”

Williamsburg got a baserunner into scoring position in each of the last four innings, but couldn’t get a run across.

The best shot came in the seventh, when Holub led off with a single, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Elle Ridgeway sacrificed her to third, but Lawrence (20-0) struck Peyton Driscoll out and induced a flyout from Megan Lamparek to close it out.

“We were ready for her speed,” Williamsburg’s Aubray Walters said. “Our energy level might not quite have been where it was against Assumption.”

Driscoll, a freshman pitcher, nearly matched Lawrence. She struck out nine and walked three, yielding four hits.

The difference was Lawrence’s homer.

Driscoll, Walters and Charley Geguzis represented Williamsburg on the 3A all-tournament team. Nicole Sullivan and Maia Bentley of Mount Vernon — the fourth-place team after a 4-1 loss to Assumption on Friday — also made the squad.

It wasn’t the final destination Williamsburg had hoped for, but it was another step for a program that has made steady progress through the past five years.

“It’s been a dream,” Walters said.

ALBIA 1, WILLIAMSBURG 0

Class 3A State Championship, at Fort Dodge

Williamsburg 000 000 0 — 0 3 0

Albia 000 100 x — 1 4 0

Peyton Driscoll and Carly Campbell. Jena Lawrence and Alex Beard. W – Lawrence (20-0). L – Driscoll (16-4) . HR – A: Lawrence (1).

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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